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Comune di Ponzano Monferrato

Comune di Ponzano Monferrato
Villa Larbel

The widespread garden

To discover the historical and botanical gardens of Casale Monferrato

The garden of  Villa Larbel

Villa Larbel, mentioned in the “Libro figurato” of 1773, was initially an unpretentious house belonging to the family of Francesco Maria Sapelli who, in the late XVIII century, became the major of the community of Salabue.
The expansion of the property and the construction of the current residence are due to Sebastiano Antonio Sapelli. His residence, located in Salabue, was built in the early XIX century: two separate buildings, connected together by a neoclassical wing with an open gallery and a triangular pediment, were unified.
Then the residence was inherited by Count Ferdinando Sapelli Melina (“Melina di Capriglio” was the surname of his mother). He lived in Turin but he spent his holidays in the residence in Salabue until the second half of the XIX century, when the Moio-Maffei Family, from Genoa, purchased “the house with a superb garden (where two cedars of Lebanon grow)”.
At the beginning of the XX century the toponym of the residence was changed to “Villa Restano”, which was the name of its new owners.
The garden dates back to the XIX century, when Count Sebastiano Sapelli lived in the residence and wanted to beautify it. Although nobody knows its original arrangement and features,  we can suppose that they were similar to the current ones. In fact the plants that grow in the garden have been analyzed and the results of the analysis show that, originally, it was characterized by an informal layout. We can see the entire garden and a wonderful landscape, if we stand on the open gallery.
According to trends that were spreading in the late XIX century, the layout of the central area of the garden was formal: it was characterized by a flower bed where colorful flowering plants were grown. That flower bed was presumably similar to the circular one that is still situated in the middle of the garden.


The garden of  Villa Larbel

An elegant gate is connected to a well-kept garden crossed by pedestrian crossings and driveways; on the right there are some olive trees and a bamboo fence while in the background a lot of chestnuts.
On the left there are some lindens and a captivating view of the residence bordered by lemon trees and begonias grown in pots.
In front of the house there is a large area , partly shaded by a Mermaid rose and embellished along its entire length by shrub roses that are grown in the garden.
Moreover the various shades of the roses, the intense blue ceratostigma, the wine red barberry alternated with boxwood shrubs, the pink-violet crape myrtles, the cream-colored façade of the residence and the various shades of green of the lawn and the trees create a great harmony of colors.
A good fragrance emanates from the star jasmine and surrounds a short staircase which connects the garden to the park. A palm tree, bordered by Hypericum calycinum  stands in the middle of the park and other palm trees, some yews, a huge cedar of Lebanon, a magnolia, a camphor tree and a lot of shrubs (some of which are regularly pruned) grow nearby and create pleasant combinations and contrasts of shades and textures.
Meandering paths situated in the lawn surround the central flower bed and reach the terrace which overlooks vineyards and patches of wood.
Nowadays “the house with the garden” is Villa Larbel and its garden is still superb because of its elegance emphasized by the wonderful landscape that it overlooks, its botanical richness and its careful maintenance.